Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Addition to the Family

Hey everyone!! We just had our last team until December leave on Saturday. And we are all getting back into normal life with out teams. If you call that normal. The girls at the Villa are doing very well. We have a a woman from New York here teaching jewelery making until this Saturday. She has taught the older girls at the Villa and is visiting a small pueblo called Motastepe. All this in hopes that the ones that learn can teach others and start a business. We are also teaching the older girls from the Villa greeting card embroidery. A local woman has held one class with the girls and we will have another class coming up this Friday.
Last Sunday night, we all had dinner together at the Villa with the girls, Gloria, Wilbert and many of the workers from the Villa. After dinner we had a time of prayer led by Wilbert. I was amazed when all the girls, including the little ones were silent during his prayer. Many of them were brought to tears. He prayed for their families, and he prayed for their relationships with each other. The two houses have become somewhat competitive, and it was causing division in among them. We ended in a circle holding hands and hugging each other telling them we love them. These are the moments when you KNOW God is in this place and touching each and every girl. It was truly a special night.

On a personal note, I have a new addition to my family. Her name is Lucy.

She is the cutest thing I have ever seen. She is really good and obedient!!! She has done a lot of learning on her own. I am truly blessed to have her.

Prayer requests:

  • Praise God for the work He has done in the lives of the team members who have visited. And that He gives them wisdom and guidance as to what to do with the experience He has given them.
  • Praise Him for the people He sends to Nicaragua to help.
  • Pray for the health of Gloria and her pregnancy.
  • Pray that He would draw me to His heart and bring me out of the desert I feel I am in.
  • Praise Him that He is a God of Mercy and Forgiveness.
  • Pray for my friend Lisa's adoption of 3 children from Vida Nueva. Pray for quick resolution and that all the children will be ready to go with her at the same time.

Thank you all for your support and prayers.

Love in Christ,


Thursday, September 18, 2008

I know you have a lot of questions concerning how the girls living in Villa Esperanza were chosen. What the age limits are and if we will ever house boys from the dump. The ages for the girls right now are 5 yrs old to 16 yrs old. We have one girl in high school, with another that will graduate from primary school and move on to high school. The girls were chosen by an application and interview process. The announcement went out to families whose children attend the school in the dump (La Chureca). The applications were filled out, Gloria along with the principal of the school, held interviews with the parents to find out what the immediate need was for their daughters. The needs ranged from emergency safety issues, to families who just didn’t want their daughter or could not provide for them. After much prayer and deliberation, the first sixteen were chosen. The parents have agreed to let their girls live in the Villa for a minimum of 3 years, with the possibility of them living there until they graduate high school and/or college. We are hoping to be able to work with local communities, churches, companies and schools to help maximize the education the girls will get and for them to realize their employability. Also by adding a vocational center in the Villa we will be able to teach basic skill sets to help the girls reach their full potential and to give them a chance to not just survive in the outside world but to thrive in the outside world.

I was asked a question by a friend, and she wanted to know how the girls responded to having teams stay at the Villa all summer long. I will tell you that they said over and over again that they missed the teams and wanted to know when then next teams were coming. Some of the older girls help work in the kitchen and do some basic housekeeping. This allows them to learn responsibility and work ethic. All while developing relationships with locals that work in the Villa. They also are able to see positive and healthy relationships between men and women and boys and girls with the youth teams that visit. They are taught boundaries and are held accountable for their behavior. These are all things that they may have only seen while at school in the dump. Now they can live it. Besides all the life skills, they are receiving a ton of love!!!!! And they have made many friends who want to keep in contact with them.

If you are interested in helping and keeping in contact with any of these special girls please visit Forward Edge's website (there is a link above) http://www.forwardedge.org/ and click on their Child Sponsorship program.

Here are a few pictures, above and below, of the girls with teams, see for yourself how happy they are!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Villa Esperanza's Sweet 16

Hi everyone!!! I am back again with another update! Can you believe it!!! I want to update you all on Villa Esperanza and the first 16 girls who live there.

The girls (pictured above along with their house mothers) moved in July 1, 2008. They were moved into their new homes by their parents. The moms and dads were able to see the brand new houses, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. They slept for the first time in new bunk beds with new sheets. Some of them took showers in a tiled shower for the first time ever. Some had never seen a shower or experienced how a shower works. After a little encouragement, they worked through their fear of the falling water and enjoyed the newness of it all.

The first few days were filled with tears and homesickness as the girls realized the separation from their families was real. But with lots of love and prayer the homesickness has turned in joy and happiness. The girls have many opportunities to see their families as they return to the dump everyday to attend school. If the parents so wish they can visit their daughters everyday. When school is out for a few days there are arranged visits and even overnights scheduled for the girls. Where the girls are allowed to return to the dump and spend the night with their families.

A few days ago Gloria and Wilbert had a family meeting with the parents and shared with them the changes in the girls, the activities planned for them, the help that has been provided for them and so on. The parents shared with Gloria and Wilbert the changes that they see in their daughters and what a blessing it is that their daughters were chosen to live at Villa Esperanza. One father shared with Wilbert that he knew this was the right place for his daughter because she told her dad she has never been happier in her life. And her dad said he knew this was true because he sees her smiling and happy all the time. Something she wasn't before. I know these parents are missing their children, but praise God that they are allowing their loved ones to have the chance a a better life. And through this new life pray the parents in turn want a better life for themselves.

This is a short update...will return with more...feel free to post any questions you may have or email me at susie@forwardedge.org and I will happy to incorporate the answers in a new update.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bitter Sweet

The teams have come and gone for the season, and I am finding myself going through withdrawal. FEI in Nicaragua, hosted 14 short term mission teams in 10 weeks. That makes around 300 people. Teams traveled from all over the U.S. Florida, Texas, Washington, Oregon, New York and so on. These teams worked on various projects. From beautifying and ministering to women, helping waterproof houses in the garbage dump, construction work in Villa Esperanza to medical check-ups in Leon, Nicaragua. They were they first to stay in Villa Esperanza and test out the new team home accommodations, they camped in a field, stayed in a very modest and primitive hotel (this time with lights and w/out cockroaches).

In a city called Rio Blanco, 4 hours northeast of Managua, we took a youth team from Edmonds, WA . We were met by the Mayor of the city and had a TV interview for the local news. Our project was helping clean the city. Which consisted mostly of picking up garbage along the city streets. The locals wanted to know why we would come all the way from the US to pick up garbage in their little city. It was our way of helping support a local Verbo Church and to let them know there are people who care for them around the world.

Another team from Gulf Gate Church in Sarasota, FL provided us with a more intimate experience. A small team of five. But what they lacked in numbers they made up for in work!! These men are looking into the new beginnings of an out house that was about 20 ft deep at the time, soon to be 30 ft deep. They say this hole will last around 25 years!!!!! We were in a town called Motastepe, just on the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua. There is a local church there we are trying to help support. Gulf Gate Church has also donated the money to buy the pastor of this church a house for his family. The photo above is a team member cleaning up after a long day of painting the new house.

We were also blessed to have 2 youth teams come from South Lake Foursquare Church in Westlinn, OR be our last teams of the season. They did an amazing job of waterproofing houses in the garbage dump with sheets of black plastic. Each team finished about 8 houses each with plastic left over to give the locals to help other families in need. These teams also helped with projects in Villa Esperanza to help us get ready to build another children's home and to prepare for the official Villa open house coming up in late September.

Although I am happy to get the much needed rest from hosting and managing the teams, it is bitter sweet not to see my friends from the states and the Nicaraguans I consider family everyday.

I had planned to add more pics of people we worked with this summer but have seem to misplaced them and have since removed them from my memory card, so here are just 2 friends. Mario is an interpreter we have worked with since March, great kid, hard worker and loves to help his people(notice his shirt!!That was sent by a youth team from Portland) The other is my friend Donna who the Lord sent me just when I needed a friend. Thanks Donna.....

That's all for now. Next post I will update you all on Villa Esperanza and the 16 girls that have been living there since July 1. They have told me they miss the teams too.


  • Praise God for the Villa and a safe place for these girls to live.
  • Praise Him that he knows us so well and He provides in His perfect timing.
  • Pray for the Villa girls sponsorship program at Forward Edge International.
  • Pray that we, the field staff would get the rest we need before the next team comes.
  • Pray for the travel of all the visitors who will come to the Villa open house.